Books

Books of the Month | Month of the Books #8

Explore our Editor's top book recommendations for the Month of the Books #8. Find your next great read with our curated list.

“Supper CLUB”

BY LARA WILLIAMS

WINNER OF THE GUARDIAN “NOT THE BOOKER” PRIZE 2019

A sharply intelligent and intimate debut novel about a secret society of hungry young women who meet after dark and feast to reclaim their appetites–and their physical spaces–that posits the question: If you feed a starving woman, what will she grow into?

Roberta spends much of her time trying not to take up space. At almost thirty, she is adrift and alienated from life. Stuck in her mindless job and reluctant to pursue her passion for food, she suppresses her appetite and recedes to the corners of rooms. But when she meets Stevie, a spirited and effervescent artist, their intense friendship sparks a change in Roberta, a shift in her desire for more.

Together, they invent the Supper Club, a transgressive and joyous collective of women who celebrate–rather than admonish–their hungers. They gather after dark and feast until they are sick; they break into private buildings and leave carnage in their wake; they embrace their changing bodies; they stop apologizing. For these women, the club is a way to explore, discover, and push the boundaries of the space they take up in the world–and reclaim it.

Yet as the club expands, growing both in size and rebellion, Roberta is forced to reconcile herself to the desires and vulnerabilities of the body–and the past she has worked so hard to repress. Devastatingly perceptive and savagely funny, “Supper Club” is an essential coming-of-age story for our times.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Lara Williams is the author of the short story collection “A Selfie as Big as the Ritz”, and her writing has been featured in The Guardian, The Independent, Vice, the Times Literary Supplement, McSweeney’s, and elsewhere. She has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and is featured in Best British Short Stories 2017. She writes and teaches Creative Writing at Manchester Metropolitan University. She lives in Manchester, England.

Twitter @Lara_A_Will iams

 

“Lives of Girls and Women”

BY ALICE MUNRO

WINNER OF THE NOBEL PRIZE IN LITERATURE 2013

The only novel from Alice Munro-award-winning author of “The Love of a Good Woman”–is an insightful, honest book, “autobiographical in form but not in fact,” that chronicles a young girl’s growing up in rural Ontario in the 1940’s.

Del Jordan lives out at the end of the Flats Road on her father’s fox farm, where her most frequent companions are an eccentric bachelor family friend and her rough younger brother. When she begins spending more time in town, she is surrounded by women-her mother, an agnostic, opinionated woman who sells encyclopedias to local farmers; her mother’s boarder, the lusty Fern Dogherty; and her best friend, Naomi, with whom she shares the frustrations and unbridled glee of adolescence.

Through these unwitting mentors and in her own encounters with sex, birth, and death, Del explores the dark and bright sides of womanhood. All along she remains a wise, witty observer and recorder of truths in small-town life. The result is a powerful, moving, and humorous demonstration of Alice Munro’s unparalleled awareness of the lives of the girls and women.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Alice Munro (1931) is a Canadian short story writer. She grew up in Wingham, Ontario, and attended the University of Western Ontario. She has published thirteen collections of stories as well as a novel, “Lives of Girls and Women”, and two volumes of “Selected Stories”. During her distinguished career she has been the recipient of many awards and prizes. In 2013 she was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature. Her story “The Bear Came Over the mountain” was filmed by Sarah Polley as “Away from Her”, and “Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage” as “Hateship Loveship”. She lives in Port Hope, Canada, on Lake Ontario.

 

“The Lady of the Camellias”

BY ALEXANDRE DUMAS FILS

The landmark novel that inspired Verdi’s opera “La Traviata”

“One of the greatest love stories of all time,” according to Henry James, and the inspiration for Verdi’s opera “La Traviata”, the Oscarwinning musical “Moulin Rouge”, and numerous ballets, stage plays and films, “The Lady of the Camellias” itself was inspired by the real-life nineteenth-century courtesan Marie Duplessis, the lover of the novel’s author, Alexander Dumas fils.

Known to all as “the Lady of the Camellias” because she is never seen without her favorite flowers, Marguerite Gautier, the most beautiful, brazen, and expensive courtesan in all of Paris. But despite having many lovers, she has never really loved—until she meets Armand Duval, young, handsome, and hopelessly in love with her.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Alexandre Dumas fils (1824- 1895) was a French author and playwright, best known for the romantic novel “The Lady of the Camellias”, published in 1848, which was adapted into Giuseppe Verdi’s 1853 opera “La Traviata” (“The Fallen Woman”), as well as numerous stage and film productions, usually titled “Camille” in English-language versions.

Dumas fils (French for “son”) was the son of Alexandre Dumas père (“father”), also a well-known playwright and author of classic works such as “The Three= Musketeers”. Dumas fils was admitted to the Académie française (French Academy) in 1874 and awarded the Légion d’honneur (Legion of Honor) in 1894.

 

“Bonfire”

BY KRYSTEN RITTER

Nothing burns as bright as the truth.

It has been ten years since Abby Williams left home and scrubbed away all visible evidence of her small-town roots. Now working as an environmental lawyer in Chicago, she has a thriving career, a modern apartment, and her pick of meaningless one-night stands.

But when a new case takes her back home to Barrens, Indiana, the life Abby painstakingly created begins to crack. Tasked with investigating Optimal Plastics, the town’s most high-profile company and economic heart, Abby begins to find strange connections to Barrens’s biggest scandal from more than a decade ago, involving the popular Kaycee Mitchell and her closest friends—just before Kaycee disappeared for good.

Abby knows the key to solving any case lies in the weak spots, the unanswered questions. But as she tries desperately to find out what really happened to Kaycee, troubling memories begin to resurface and she begins to doubt her own observations. And when she unearths an even more disturbing secret—a ritual called “The Game”—it will threaten reputations, and lives, in the community and risk exposing a darkness that may consume her.

With tantalizing twists, slow-burning suspense, and a remote rural town of just five claustrophobic square miles, Bonfire is a dark exploration of what happens when your past and present collide.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Krysten Ritter (1981) is well-known for her starring roles in the awardwinning Netflix original series Marvel’s “Jessica Jones” and cult favorite “Don’t Trust the B— in Apartment 23”, as well as her pivotal role on AMC’s “Breaking Bad”. Ritter’s work on film includes “Big Eyes”, “Listen Up Philip”, “Life Happens”, “Confessions of a Shopaholic”, and “She’s Out of My League”. She is the founder of Silent Machine, a production company that aims to highlight complex female protagonists.

Twitter @Krystenritter

Instagram @therealk rystenritter

 

“Never Let Me Go”

BY KAZUO ISHIGURO


From the winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature and author of the Booker Prize–winning novel “The Remains of the Day” comes a devastating novel of innocence, knowledge, and loss.

As children Kathy, Ruth, and Tommy were students at Hailsham, an exclusive boarding school secluded in the English countryside. It was a place of mercurial cliques and mysterious rules where teachers were constantly reminding their charges of how special they were. Now, years later, Kathy is a young woman. Ruth and Tommy have reentered her life. And for the first time she is beginning to look back at their shared past and understand just what it is that makes them special—and how that gift will shape the rest of their time together.

Suspenseful, moving, beautifully atmospheric, “Never Let Me Go” is modern classic.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Sir Kazuo Ishiguro (1954) is a British novelist, screenwriter and short-story writer. He was born in Nagasaki, Japan and moved to the United Kingdom in 1960 when he was five.

Ishiguro is one of the most celebrated contemporary fiction authors in the Englishspeaking world. He has received four Man Booker Prize nominations and won the award in 1989 for his novel “The Remains of the Day”. Ishiguro’s 2005 novel, “Never Let Me Go”, was named by Time as the best novel of the year and was included in the magazine’s list of the 100 best Englishlanguage novels published between 1923 and 2005.

In 2017, the Swedish Academy awarded Ishiguro the Nobel Prize in Literature, describing him in its citation as a writer “who, in novels of great emotional force, has uncovered the abyss beneath our illusory sense of connection with the world”.

Ishiguro was knighted in the 2018 Queen’s Birthday Honors List.